Hiring developers at Gamesys
Gamesys is a Bally’s Corporation company and forms part of one of the world’s leading entertainment providers, with tens of millions of players and thousands of employees across the globe. The company launched 12 years ago and is currently present worldwide with more than 25 million players.
Toughbyte has been helping Gamesys grow its Estonian office for over three years. Their Tech Lead Dmitri Plahhotnikov told us about the studio’s approach to hiring developers and maintaining a positive atmosphere in the team.
Why did you decide to hire more developers?
Back then we had a team of about seven people who worked on a separate project. After successfully completing it we joined one of the existing departments at Gamesys. This was the first team from Estonia and since all the members worked very well, we realized that the department needed one more team. So we put together the second team and the other departments started hiring more developers as well. The Estonian teams proved themselves to be reliable performers, so we’re now growing horizontally by creating new teams for different departments. We'll need two more teams of 13-15 people in the coming year.
Where did you find developers before starting work with Toughbyte?
At first, we didn’t use headhunters and hired people via our own network. We also had some applications from cv.ee which was very popular back then. I posted something on Facebook and there was some word of mouth too. Overall, there weren’t that many candidates because people in Estonia weren’t eager to change jobs.
What does your hiring process look like now?
It’s not very complicated. After the initial check of the CVs they are passed to me and the team leads. We look at the skillset and if the candidate is a fit, schedule the first interview which is more of a culture fit conversation. If this goes well, we do a tech interview where we ask a number of specific and general questions in order to assess the candidate’s knowledge. The questions are not just about Java and frameworks, we’re also interested in the candidate’s ability to learn new things and how wide their knowledge is. When it comes to testing the candidate’s coding skills, we have an assignment that shows how the candidate actually thinks. Some people write interesting yet elaborate code, but, in our opinion, the best solution is a laconic one. Once the candidate has completed the assignment, we do a very thorough review where we go through the good and the bad, so that they get feedback on the work they’ve done. Sometimes we sit down and discuss which team the candidate might potentially go to if there is a need for more people in several teams. In this case we may do a 30-minute conversation with the candidate about different opportunities. After that we discuss the candidate’s salary and send them the offer.
What did you like about working with Toughbyte?
In my experience, Toughbyte’s candidates are some of the best we’re getting. Those who go through the interview process communicate well and share our mindset, so I have only good things to say about our collaboration.
Do you have any tips for other companies hiring developers?
It really depends on what the company’s needs and priorities are. At Gamesys we put a lot of emphasis on the positive atmosphere. So if we had to choose between a candidate that is very smart but difficult to communicate with and a candidate that might not be as skilled but is a better communicator, we would go with the latter. It’s very important to build the spirit of cooperation rather than rivalry and cultivate respectful communication in your team.
How did you adapt to changes due to COVID?
Estonia is a bit more conservative in this regard and people don’t like to work from home that much. The majority of those who work from home are the people who moved here from abroad. It’s interesting that many Russian-speakers prefer to work from the office. During the very first lockdown 9 out of 27 Gamesys team members worked from the office. When the second wave hit, 95% of the people still went to the office. These days we have a company-wide hybrid work model: you can work from home two days a week. We didn’t limit remote work in any way before the pandemic, though, so if someone wanted to work from home, they could do so. Still, most of our Estonian employees go to the office since it’s not far away from home. Our colleagues in London can work from the office three days a month, which is understandable because it takes them about 1.5 hours to get to the office. In our case it takes 45 minutes max. In general, nothing changed much for us. Everybody can work remotely, but it’s important to be available during the working hours because we still maintain the communication within the team and between different offices.